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Perhaps a semantic quibble, perhaps a more deeply-rooted consideration.... Why is the Deity so frequently portrayed as "all-"powerful, "all-"knowing, etc. Is there some really fundamental reason why the Deity cannot be "very" powerful" and know "quite a bit indeed"?

Some theologians and Allen Stairs April 2, 2020 (changed April 2, 2020) Permalink Some theologians and philosophers would say that religious devotion to anything less than a perfect being amounts to idolatry, and a less-than-omniscient or less than omnibenevolent or less-than-omnipotent being would be less than a perfect being. My own view is that this is a... Read more

Fred is 14. Would you agree that Fred isn't in the set of people aged less than 15 because he's 14, he's in the set of people aged less than 15 because he's less than 15? (It doesn't matter what his age is, as long as he's less than 15.)

I doubt that "because" is as Stephen Maitzen April 2, 2020 (changed April 2, 2020) Permalink I doubt that "because" is as finicky as you seem to be suggesting it is. I think it's perfectly true that Fred belongs to the set because he is only 14, and it's perfectly true that Fred belongs to the set because he is less than 15. I'm not familiar with a... Read more

My Mom told me that "there's always somebody better than you!". I was thinking if that was true or not because there are not an infinite number of people in the world, so at some point you will reach somebody who is the best, right? For example, if person A was the best person at art in the world, there wouldn't be anybody else who can possibly be better at art than them.

Perhaps you are very gifted Charles Taliaferro April 2, 2020 (changed April 2, 2020) Permalink Perhaps you are very gifted and your mother was humorously commending humility. Maybe you won an award and she did not want you to think you were the best and could therefore retire. In any case, on the matter at hand: if your mother told every (to use your example... Read more

Hi philosophers , recently a friend of mine said “it’s always best to tell the truth “ until I pointed out examples where this is obviously not true, this lead me to wondering what if we as humans had not the ability to lie ? Would the world be a better or a worse place to live? I think complete honesty amongst humans would create chaos as although admirable in many ways offence would still be taken and consequences could be dire. I imagine the anguish most men would have attempting to truthfully answer that awkward question from the wife as in “ do you think I look fat in this dress dear “?

Like your friend, the German Peter S. Fosl March 12, 2020 (changed March 12, 2020) Permalink Like your friend, the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant in “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy” argued that it's categorically wrong to lie, even to a murderer at the door looking for someone inside. Like you, however, I think he's obviously mi... Read more

What fallacy is it ? hasty generalization or begging the question ? Is it really a fallacious argumnet or a valid one ? Premise1- If A is true, then B is true. Premise 2- A is true. Conclusion- B is true. We have no empirical evidence for supporting P1 and P2 therefore both are false. Since 1 or more than 1 premise is false, the conclusion will always be false. A guy argues that it is a valid argument. On the other hand, I say it is not a valid argument. I don't know which informal fallacy it is. Does this argument contain really a fallacy or the other guy is right ?

The argument is valid. That's Allen Stairs February 20, 2020 (changed February 20, 2020) Permalink The argument is valid. That's because in logic, we say that an argument is valid if it's impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false at the same time. If two statements A and If A then B really are true, then so is B. If both A and If A... Read more

One thing I learned in Philosophy of Science class was that the definition of Species can be a very difficult thing to pin down exactly. My question (I think I have several) involves the definition of Human in relation to other animals. Say that we were to all agree on a definition of Human (imagine that!), and this definition describes humans along only psychological and mental properties. Assuming such a definition were possible - would this definition hold true for some 'intelligent' alien species (let's call them X)? Say their minds worked like exactly like ours. Would X truly be a different species? Let me put it another way. In science and futurism, one thing that often comes up as possibly happening at some point in the future is what's called Mind-Uploading. It's something to do with a human brain being successfully emulated by a computer; copying and loading a simulated model of someone's brain, such that people - humans - can 'live' inside a computer. Basically, what's going on in the Matrix. I personally doubt it but I think a lot of people consider it possible. If such a thing were possible for Humans, and for the intelligent species X... Then at that point, how would we go about distinguishing Humans from X? Imagine we uploaded both a Human and an X to the same computer or machine. How can we then distinguish them as being of 2 different species?

We have apples and Martian Allen Stairs February 20, 2020 (changed February 20, 2020) Permalink We have apples and Martian oranges here. Whatever exactly biology means by "species" (and there's a debate about that), it's about what the actual science of biology, with its particular set of concepts, theories and empirical claims, uses the term "species" to me... Read more

No two sets can have the same conditions for membership, so if Miss X is in the set of young girls because she's a young girl, then she cannot be in the set of female humans because she's a young girl. Paradox?

If there is a paradox here, I Stephen Maitzen February 20, 2020 (changed February 20, 2020) Permalink If there is a paradox here, I don't think it will have anything to do with a conflict in the conditions for set membership. Let's leave aside that there may be sorites-style paradoxes arising from the vagueness of the predicates "young girl" and even "female... Read more

I wonder about the nature of modal concepts such as necessity and possibility. When I say "It is possible that this page is white" or "it is necessary that two plus two equals four" I use modal words in my speech. Where do these concepts belong to? Are they in my mind or I receive them from the objects themselves?

It's a good idea to Stephen Maitzen January 23, 2020 (changed February 4, 2020) Permalink It's a good idea to distinguish between epistemic uses of modal language (which have to do with our knowledge) and alethic uses (which have to do with truth independently of our knowledge). When you say, "It is possible that this page is white," you might be wearin... Read more

What fallacy is being committed here: I owned two Chevy cars – a Cruze and a Malibu – and they gave me nothing but trouble. The choke and the batteries froze up and the clutches went out on both cars. They were always in the shop. Chevy’s are poorly constructed and should be avoided. What fallacy does this person commit? fallacy of hasty generalization or fallacy of composition? It is difficult to tell if the argument assumes that parts of the Chevy car are troublesome (batteries, clutch etc.) therefore the whole Chevy car is poorly constructed making this a composition fallacy or if the person has observed a small amount of Chevy cars and made a generalization about the whole of Chevy cars which in this case it would be a hasty generalization fallacy. These fallacies are hard to tell apart and a little confusing.

The fallacy of composition is Allen Stairs January 21, 2020 (changed January 21, 2020) Permalink The fallacy of composition is drawing conclusions about the whole from facts about the parts when the facts about the parts don't support the conclusion. Obvious case: every cell in my body weighs less than a pound. But that doesn't support the conclusion that I... Read more

When I was a child, I started asking myself: Why am I me? Why do I exist instead of not existing? Now as an adult, this question started bothering me again as I started trying for a baby. With each cycle, I wondered, what if I conceive a baby today and not tomorrow? If a baby was to be conceived in any case, they would be a different person depending on if we have sex today or tomorrow. What if my own parent had had sex on another day? They might have had another child that wouldn't have been me, hence I would have never existed. Of course then I would not have been there to ask the question. But why am I there to ask? What if I didn't exist at all? It's like I'm feeling my own consciousness looking at itself in the mirror for the first time and realizing it exists! Then it brings me to the idea that if I didn't exist (or when I'll cease to exist when I die), my entire perception of the world will cease to exist too. Then it will be as if the world didn't exist at all, at least from my own point of view (which will be no more!). The/my entire world will just cease to exist. The real world might as well cease to exist too. This really makes my brain hurt. It just really freaks my out that I exist instead of not existing. I can't imagine stopping to exist. This fills me with incredible anxiety. My question actually is: Are there any philosophers who wrote about this? I would very much like to read them and find a bit of comfort in knowing I am not alone with my existential anxiety. I would also like to know more about this kind of double-sided perception of the world, for instance the idea that popped into my head that if I stop existing then the world will stop too (because I won't be there to be conscious of it). I know it's not how reality works but now that I've seen it from this point of view I cannot un-see it. Thanks in advance!

I don't have anything Allen Stairs January 16, 2020 (changed January 20, 2020) Permalink I don't have anything insightful to offer here, but I can say for certain that you're not the first person to be puzzled by the sorts of things you're puzzled by. It's also very hard to articulate your question in a way that would make sense to someone who didn't "... Read more